It was the third of Tarsakh when the party set out. They were out on the open ocean. The only thing visible from the deck of the Annabelle Lee Mark 2 was the great peak of Drakenforge in the distance. For Kaladrax, this meant leaving his home and family behind. After having to dock for months while the Curse of Ash raged through the mainland, the crew was exhilarated to be out on the seas once more.
When they woke up that morning, Aleera had asked Elior’s Deck about the Deva heralding the coming of the old gods. What did that mean for the prime material plane. She drew her three cards and turned them over one by one. The first was a golden canary, followed by a crimson canary on the second card, and the third card depicted an intricate compass that seemed to move in strange circles. Then the vision took her.
There was snow everywhere. It blanketed the ground and fell from the sky at a steady speed. The sky was red and meteors of fire fell from it. There were three lights in the sky, platinum, crimson, and shadowy black. They were fighting each other too high up to be discernible. They slammed into each other at various intervals. She looked at the ground and it was littered with the dead. Her friends stared at her with dead eyes from the ground around her. Then she herself felt the end coming as a red, flaming meteor headed straight for her. The vision ended right before the meteor struck, jarring her into reality once more.
She put the cards away with shaking hands and went to join her friends up top. The party was excited to be taking on this new adventure and was exploring the ship. They ended up finding a hidden cache of goods that were being smuggled by the enterprising Captain Sheila Coppertree. It was cleverly disguised with the use of illusion magic and well placed wooden boards. In an effort to raise the spirits of the crew and thank them for their services, Aleera put on an elaborate show with illusionary creatures.
The first mate spoke to them, thanking them for lifting the crew’s morale. He also thanked them for speaking to Keasly. He added that he had been much nicer since then. The party was confused. They had never spoken to such a person. They were immediately suspicious and began some subtle investigating. Something was afoot and they were getting to the bottom of it.
Searching through the bowels of the ship, they found Keasly in the crew’s quarters. They spoke to him, trying to appear nonchalant. With a quick movement, Aleera cast the Modify Memory spell on Keasly. She reviewed the last twenty four hours in his mind, from his perspective. There wasn’t much. A lot of running around working on the ship, swabbing the deck. Almost to the end of the memories, at night, she saw him dump something large overboard. It was dark so she couldn’t see what.
That part of the spell ended and she quickly modified his memory with a simple task. He was to remember that he had taken an oath of loyalty to the party. He was sworn to never harm them or interfere with their affairs. When the spell ended the commands seemed to take. His eyes cleared and he looked at them with no suspicion in his eyes. Then he blinked. Aleera noticed his eyes narrow slightly and then returned to normal. He smiled, his mouth with less teeth than gaps.
Aleera let everyone know with her telepathy, that something was wrong. The spell had worked but also it hadn’t. With a different gesture, Kariss cast Zone of Truth. The room was small enough that most of it was encompassed by the effect. There were some people that were not in the zone but otherwise they had a chance to get some truth. They asked Keasly some probing questions, pretending to try and get to know him.
There were some awkward moments when some of the other crew woke up and began talking. The Zone of Truth compelled them to tell the truth and, when some weird uncomfortable things accidentally popped out, they started asking pointed, personal questions about each other. The questions ranged from cheating with another’s wife to cheating at cards. At the end of it Keasly was still looking innocent and the quarters were filled with angry sailors. The party tried to quench the anger but that still left the room in awkward silence.
The group played it cool and walked out of the quarters. Once on deck they tried to figure out who Keasly was. They asked questions of the sailors and found that he was liked but no one really knew anything about him. That was the case with most of the sailors here though. They were all just working men going around to whatever ship would take them on. Aleera thought perhaps it had been a body that had been thrown overboard and told the group.
They agreed and asked that everyone congregate on the deck of the ship. The lower decks emptied out as everyone came out. They looked confused and still a bit angry from all the confessions below. As the last of them trickled out Kariss sent her snake, Kess, down into the ship to sniff out any remaining people below deck. Milo set his spider in the main corridor to watch for any movement. Aleera, Karriss and Milo headed below to find anybody left behind.
They swept the lower areas until they came across the only other person left. Keasly turned into one of them and they fought. The party were too many in number for Keasly to fight alone and he was overcome before long. His disguise fell away from him to reveal the doppelganger beneath. He confessed to killing the old grump, Keasly, and dumping his body to take his place. He explained that he needed passage and Keasly was an easy mark because he was mean and violent.
The party didn’t trust the creature too much so they formulated a plan. It took some time and a little damage to the creature but Kaladrax teleported him to the mainland, far away from their ship. This would allow the creature to escape the persecution he was running from and keep their interests safe as well as the crew and ship. Having done this the party continued their trip, letting the crew know and getting them back to work on getting to the mainland.